Dental Tips Blog

Sep
19

Is Jaw Alignment Surgery Right for You?

Posted in TMJ Therpy

A misaligned jaw is when the mandible is too big or too small to evenly line up the upper and lower teeth. Sometimes, the upper arch is at fault. Either way, it’s a bad bite that can’t be corrected by straightening the teeth with orthodontics.

The solution is to surgically correct the jaw positioning.

Do you think that you or a family member may need jaw surgery?

Signs You May Need Jaw Alignment Treatment

  • Excessive enamel wear
  • Open bite (upper and lower teeth do not meet)
  • Jaw protrudes out
  • Chin is receded into your neck
  • Chronic dry mouth
  • Difficulty keeping lips closed together
  • TMJ pain
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Sleep apnea
  • Facial imbalance

What You Should Know About Jaw Surgery

Realigning your jaw isn’t something you can just opt for in hopes of improving your facial profile. It’s far more than a cosmetic procedure.

Jaw alignment surgery tends to be a last resort since it’s so drastic. Dentists and oral surgeons will only recommend it once it’s clear that braces will be insufficient to correct your bite. Additionally, surgery is indicated if poor jaw alignment causes intense pain or affects the way your TMJ functions in daily life.

Opting to have jaw surgery isn’t an overnight process. You may need to have some orthodontic treatment before the operation as well as afterwards. It can take years to see the results you want, so you have to be patient and be willing to invest in the time required.

Professional Jaw Evaluation

If you want to find out whether jaw alignment surgery is a reasonable treatment option for you, then contact an experienced oral surgeon in your area for a consultation.

Posted on behalf of:
Wayne G. Suway, DDS, MAGD
1820 The Exchange SE #600
Atlanta, GA 30339
(770) 953-1752

Sep
27

How to Prevent TMJ Problems

Posted in TMJ Therpy

Your TMJ (temporomandibular joint) is easy to take for granted until something goes wrong.

TMJ pain is almost impossible to live with. The discomfort can interfere with normal daily activities like chewing, yawning, talking, and laughing. To make matters worse, diagnosing the cause of a TMJ disorder and then treating it is very difficult.

So if you have no complaints so far, then now is the perfect time to make sure you’re taking good care of your jaw in order to avoid TMJ problems.

Relax

Stress is a major factor in TMJ issues. Tension can cause you to unconsciously clench your teeth and jaw muscles. This is just another great reason to make sure you’re getting plenty of sleep and eating well.

De-stress before bedtime with a cup of soothing herbal tea, a warm bath, or some relaxing music.

Get a Mouthguard

A teeth clenching and grinding habit taxes the TMJ and most often occurs during sleep. If you have this habit, then a night guard may help you limit the stress your jaw experiences.

Choose Not to Chew

Of course, you don’t want to never use your jaw. That would put on the fast-track to weakening. But it’s a good idea to occasionally evaluate just how much you work that joint.

Do you regularly chew on ice cubes from your drink? Do you constantly have a piece of gum in your mouth? When your jaw frequently engages in such activities, it can weaken and cause wear on the joint. Excessively strong cheek muscles can also put a strain on the TMJ.

How is your TMJ doing? Find out by scheduling a visit with your dentist or oral surgeon.

Posted on behalf of:
Les Belles NYC Dentistry
420 Lexington Ave #228
New York, NY 10170
212-804-8884

Sep
19

These 5 Activities Can Aggravate TMJ Pain

Posted in TMJ Therpy

Your temporomandibular joint is a very intricate part of your jaw. It’s loaded with cartilage and ligaments which scientists are still working to understand.

When it’s working normally, you hardly even notice it, that’s how smooth your temporomandibular joint is. The slightest strain or fatigue, however, is almost impossible to ignore.  Too much stress on your temporomandibular joint can result in temporomandibular joint disorder (called TMJ or TMD) which causes headaches, jaw pain, and other discomfort.

Take a look at how you’re doing in the following areas to see if there’s anything you can do to reduce tension on this delicate joint.

  1. Nibbling Habit

Nail biting, pen-chewing, and nibbling on your cheek or lip could all contribute to unnecessary stress on your temporomandibular joint. You might want to work on kicking those bad habits ASAP!

  1. Chewing Gum

Gum is a convenient breath freshener and can boost saliva production. But watch how often you chew it – chronic gum-chewing can lead to a tired jaw and chronic problems.

  1. Talking

On average, humans tend to talk about 10,000 – 20,000 words a day. Naturally, this varies with culture and personality. But if you have a job that has you on the phone for hours on end, you might want to consider giving your jaw a break!

  1. Sleep

Even the most restful activity could lead to TMJ pain. If you have a habit of grinding your teeth in your sleep, then this can cause damage to your temporomandibular joint.

  1. Stress

Tension and anxiety trigger some folks to clench their teeth tightly. Does your jaw hurt during rush-hour traffic? Is a stressful job or family problem giving you headaches? You may have TMJ or TMD due to stress-related clenching.

Ask your dentist for a comprehensive TMJ evaluation to cut your jaw some slack!

Posted on behalf of:
Sugar Creek Family Dental
1165 Gravois Rd. Suite 140
Fenton, MO 63026
(636) 255-8325

Aug
29

Treatment Options for TMJ

Posted in TMJ Therpy

You TMJ (temporomandibular joint) is a very complex joint. So complex in fact, that even experts can’t always figure what could be wrong with it. That’s mainly because it’s hard to see into the complex network of tissues. It also boils down to the fact that people suffer jaw pain for a variety of reasons.

Diagnosing the cause of your pain is often a matter of journaling and process-of-elimination. Prescribing treatment comes down to a guessing game. You have to keep trying until you find something that works!

Causes of TMD

Pain in the TMJ is broadly classified as TMD – temporomandibular disorder.

It could be part of a system condition such as rheumatoid arthritis. Signs of wear on your teeth and pronounced chewing muscles might hint that you grind or clench your teeth. This habit would tire out your TMJ. Jaw pain could result from a bad bite or even simply from sleeping funny on the side of your head.

Just as the potential causes are so varied, the treatments likewise present you with multiple options.

Try At Home:

  • Alternate placing an ice pack and a hot damp towel against your jaw
  • Take a ibuprofen to dull the pain
  • Rest your jaw, taking a break from chewy and crunchy foods
  • Practice stress reduction
  • Avoid chewing gum, even if your jaw feels ok

What Your Dentist Or Doctor May Recommend:

  • Prescription for stronger pain medication
  • Splints and guards to keep jaw from clenching
  • Restorative work to balance out your bite
  • Botox
  • TENS (Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation)
  • Surgery

If TMJ pain is making it hard for you to enjoy everyday activities, then it’s time to get help. Call your dentist today.

Posted on behalf of:
Marbella Dentistry
791 FM 1103 #119
Cibolo, TX 78108
(210) 504-2655

Jun
9

What Is a Bite Adjustment?

Posted in TMJ Therpy

A bite adjustment is what it sounds: your dentist will make changes to the way teeth fit together as you bite.

The adjustment could be very small, such as filing away excess enamel. Or it might be part of a much bigger project to stabilize your bite with multiple crowns.

Why Get An Adjustment?

Your teeth are supposed to contact each other just so. If they’re off by even a little bit, you could experience some discomfort. Your smile might also suffer permanent damage that you’re not even aware of.

A bite adjustment is not the same as getting braces. It’s very possible (and common) for teeth with great alignment to not make contact at the right points. In fact, it’s not unusual to need just such an adjustment after braces come off.

What could cause your bite to be off:

  • Damaged or improper restorations
  • Teeth out of alignment
  • Missing teeth
  • Jaw size
  • Jaw positioning
  • Tooth shape and size

How Do You Know If You Need A Bite Adjustment?

You won’t necessarily be in pain. Most folks aren’t aware they need an adjustment until their dentist mentions it. After it’s fixed, they notice the difference.

Your dentist will help you spot signs such as loose, worn, or chipped teeth, gum recession, sensitivity, and TMJ issues.

He or she will probably have you bite down on a piece of colored dental paper that leaves marks on chewing surfaces. This shows if some teeth have more surface area contact than others.

X-rays, models, and other scans, will help your dentist assemble a plan of what needs correcting.

Think your bite is off? Call your dentist today for instructions.

Posted on behalf of:
Avalon Dental Group P.C.
2205 Williams Trace Blvd #108
Sugar Land, TX 77478
(281) 240-5559

Jan
6

Do I Have TMJ Disorder?

Posted in TMJ Therpy

The joint in your jaw that allows your mouth to open and close is called your TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint).  This joint functions when you chew, yawn and talk.  Sometimes, people can develop a disorder with their TMJ.  This TMJ disorder is called TMD (Temporomandibular Joint Disorder) or TMJD.  How do you know if you have this condition?              Some common symptoms of TMD are:

  • Migraine headaches
  • Painful muscles around the TMJ
  • Upper back and neck pain
  • Difficulty opening the mouth wide
  • Swelling on one or both sides of the face
  • Pain with chewing
  • Popping or clicking sounds while chewing
  • Jaws that get stuck or locked in one position

These symptoms can be temporary or they can be chronic and last for many years.

What causes TMJ Disorders?  Potential causes of TMD include:

  • Grinding and/or clinching their teeth (called bruxism) due to stress
  • Arthritis in the TMJ, which can damage the cartilage in the joint
  • Chewing Gum on a frequently, creating over-use of the surrounding muscles
  • Injury to the jaw or head and neck muscles, which can damage the joint

If you think you have a disorder of your TMJ, first try some self-help ideas at home.  For example, applying moist heat or ice to the sore joint, eating foods that are soft and avoiding gum chewing or yawning really big.

If this home treatment doesn’t help, visit your dentist.  If you are diagnosed with a TMJ disorder (TMD), your dentist provide you with alternative methods to manage your discomfort, or can refer you to a TMD specialist in your area who can assess your condition and offer you further appropriate treatments.

Posted on behalf of:
Soft Touch Dentistry
1214 Paragon Dr
O’Fallon, IL 62269
(618) 622-5050 

Oct
25

How Dermal Fillers Can Help with TMJ Disorder

Posted in TMJ Therpy

For some time now, dermal fillers have been known for their cosmetic properties of filling in recessed scars, reducing the appearance of wrinkles, and plumping lips. But do dermal fillers have any application in treating pain and dysfunction of the TMJ (temporomandibular joint)?

What Are Dermal Fillers Made Of?

Most dermal fillers are made of hyaluronic acid. This acid is actually a protein that occurs naturally in the protective fluid surrounding joints. The substance helps to plump up areas of the face and neck for cosmetic enhancement, but like botulinum toxin, it can also be used to treat pain and dysfunction in the jaw.

How Can Hyaluronic Acid Help?

Hyaluronic acid is used to treat body joints that suffer from osteoarthritis. The protein is injected into the region around a joint, providing added lubrication and cushion. Recent studies indicate that for a jaw impaired by stress or osteoarthritis, the injection of a dermal filler containing hyaluronic acid could provide significant relief.

What is Treatment with Dermal Fillers Like?

Treatment is provided by a qualified practitioner in a simple office procedure. Some digital imaging may be done beforehand to provide an accurate image of the jaw for successful administration of the filler. Local anesthetic is placed before the injections are given to make the procedure more comfortable. Depending upon the exact product used and your individual needs as determined by your provider, treatment may include three to five injections each week for a number of weeks.

Are the Fillers Safe?

To date there have been no serious side-effects reported with use of hyaluronic acid as a treatment option for TMJ disorder. If you suffer from TMJ pain or dysfunction, ask your dentist about how dermal fillers can help you.

Posted on behalf of:
Grateful Dental
2000 Powers Ferry Rd SE #1
Marietta, GA 30067
(678) 593-2979

May
1

The Real Reason for Your Headaches

Posted in TMJ Therpy

Do you wake up with a headache, get one after your commute to work, or find yourself in pain at the end of the day? It could be caused by stress in the jaw muscles, radiating into the TMJ area, face, neck and shoulders. Stress alone is a huge factor as to whether or not we get headaches, and many people clench or grind their teeth together, making the muscle related pain even worse.

Wearing a TMJ splint or bite guard can help prevent these headaches from happening. How? Because the splint keeps the jaws slightly apart from one another, disengaging the jaw muscles. In turn, this prevents muscle strain throughout the rest of the head and face. Splints can be worn when you sleep, drive, or if you work at a desk where you have some alone time throughout the day.

Having a splint made is relatively simple. After taking an impression of your teeth, your dentist will create a model of your mouth and then form a splint to fit precisely over your teeth. This splint will stay snuggly in place until you take it out on purpose, such as after you wake up or to answer a phone call. Most people experience pain relief in the first few days of wearing their splint, simply because of the relaxation and rest that it provides to the muscles.

It’s important to address the cause of your headaches not only for your comfort, but also for the health of your teeth. Otherwise the excessive tension will also cause damage to your teeth and any restorations that you may have.

Posted on behalf of:
Dr. David Kurtzman D.D.S.
611 Campbell Hill St. NW #101
Marietta, GA 30060
(770) 980-6336

Mar
19

Your Bite and TMJ Disorders

Posted in TMJ Therpy

Did you know that the way your teeth bite together could be causing your TMJ disorder? If you’re already sensitive to chewing gum, harder foods, or opening your mouth for a dental exam, then it’s time to find out whether or not the problem is being caused by the way your teeth bite together.

Occlusion is the way your teeth fit together when they bite. If your teeth are crooked or the jaws are misaligned, your TMJ could be compromising its normal function every time you bite or chew your food in order to help you chew more efficiently. As a result, the jaw muscles become strained and symptoms of TMJ disorder begin to develop. Examples include popping, locking of the joint, soreness, headaches, and earaches.

A simple dental exam is all that is needed to check the occlusion of your teeth. If your dentist finds that the teeth bite together improperly, he or she can discuss what options are available to help you correct that problem. One of the most comprehensive methods is by orthodontically correcting the teeth so that they fit together properly. Traditional or clear orthodontic treatments can gradually move the teeth into the correct alignment, thereby reducing the strain that is placed on your jaw over time. Depending on the severity of your orthodontic needs and the type of treatment that you choose, some therapies can be completed as quickly as 6 months.

If other factors are causing your TMJD symptoms, your dentist can discuss non-invasive therapies to help relieve discomfort. Patients with clenching or grinding habits typically see results in the first day or two after wearing a bite splint. To find out what is causing your jaw disorder, see your dentist!

Posted on behalf of:
Mitzi Morris, DMD, PC
1295 Hembree Rd B202
Roswell, GA 30076
(770) 475-6767

Jul
2

Occlusion Dentistry

Posted in TMJ Therpy

The alignment of your teeth and jaws can affect the wear patterns of your smile as well as lead to problems like TMJ, headaches, and muscle pain. Correcting bite problems can minimize discomfort as well as improve the health and appearance of your smile.

Occlusion dentistry focuses on the role of each tooth, as well as its location as it relates to other teeth in the mouth. Using different methods, your dentist will assess how the teeth bite against one another, as well as inspect the anatomical function of the jaws and facial muscles. By making minor to even more dramatic alterations to the way teeth bite together, the entire function of the jaw muscles and joints can be corrected.

Changing the occlusion of the teeth can be done through various techniques. Some are minimally invasive while others are more dramatic, such as the replacement of teeth or tooth realignment.

Your dentist may recommend:

  • Occlusal adjustment of specific teeth
  • Replacement of individual restorations
  • Tooth replacement options for missing teeth
  • Orthodontic therapy
  • Jaw treatments

Even very mild alterations to the chewing surfaces of the teeth can change the entire way your teeth bite together. One of the most common reasons dentists adjust the occlusion of teeth is when a new restoration such as a filling or crown is placed, until the bite is not too “high.” Your dentist will use occlusal paper to mark areas that bite more heavily than others. These areas are then adjusted slightly so that the pressure points are lessened.

Reducing the muscular strain and discomfort caused by an irregular bite can eliminate TMJ issues or chewing problems. If you find that you’re biting on one side of your mouth than the other, ask your dentist to check your occlusion pattern during your next appointment.

Posted on the behalf of Dr. Sarah Roberts, Crabapple Dental

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